Grisbi isn't the hero's name but a bit of French slang meaning "loot," which is what drives this elegant Gallic crime thriller. Jean Gabin (Grand Illusion) stars as Max, a suave, smooth, elder statesman of a gangster who still manages to hook a pretty young damsel on his arm when he strolls into his favorite restaurants and nightclubs. Max belongs to the old world of criminals, where a romantic code of loyalty rules, but he's confronted by the postwar generation of ruthless, ambitious thugs when affable drug dealer and aspiring mob boss Angelo (Lino Ventura) discovers the secret of his loot. He strikes at Max's weak link, his thickheaded best friend and partner Riton (René Dary) and delivers an ultimatum: the money or the man. Director Jacques Becker (Antoine et Antoinette) takes his time with the tale, turning such digressions as a simple meal or an informal consultation into a fully realized scene with a rhythm and a drama all its own. He also enriches the film with a wonderful gallery of characters (including a small but delightful turn by young Jeanne Moreau as a pouty gold-digging chorus girl). The film sometimes dawdles but never drags, and every scene is energized by Gabin's cagey, confident Max, a worldly figure of grace and dignity who turns ruthless when a friend's life is at stake. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.